NATO eyes Russia’s Ukraine buildup amid invasion fears

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Soldiers take part in the NATO annual military exercise "Winter Shield" 2021 in Adazi, Latvia

NATO foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to discuss how to counter a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border amid fears the Kremlin could be preparing to invade.

The long-scheduled gathering in Latvia’s capital Riga comes at a volatile moment on NATO’s eastern flank as allies also grapple with a migrant crisis the West says is fuelled by Kremlin-backed Belarus.

Western countries spearheaded by the United States worry that Moscow could be planning an incursion into Ukraine after accusing the Kremlin of massing forces close to the frontier.

“There is not clarity about the Russian intentions but there is an unusual concentration of forces for the second time this year,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told AFP during a visit to alliance forces in Latvia.

“We see heavy armour, drones, electronic warfare systems and tens of thousands of combat-ready troops.”

Moscow, which seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backs separatists fighting Kiev, has strongly denied it is plotting an attack and blames NATO for fuelling tensions.

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